TARPON SPRINGS - The Tarpon Springs Commission likely will increase the hourly rate of the city attorney from $145 per hour to $165 over the next three years, per a proposed contract to be approved later this month.
Tarpon Springs currently employs City Attorney Jay Daigneault with an annual retainer of $72,000, or $6,000 per month. Under the proposed renewal contract, the retainer would not change, but the costs for Daigneanlt's services not covered by the retainer would increase to $155 per hour in the first year, $160 the following year and $165 in the third year.
Daigneault said during the Feb. 2 commission meeting that his firm did a rate study about 15 months ago and determined that its rates were below the market average of about $165 per hour.
TARPON SPRINGS - The Florida Lottery announced Jan. 27 that Todd Di Gregorio, 49, of Tarpon Springs, claimed a $3 million prize in the Super Millions Scratch-Off game.
Di Gregorio chose to receive his winnings in 25 annual payments of $120,000.
Di Gregorio purchased his winning ticket at Spartan Auto Repair & Sales, at 4 Pinellas Ave. S. in Tarpon Springs. The retailer will receive a bonus commission of $6,000 for selling this winning ticket.
TARPON SPRINGS - The new EcoVillage residential development - consisting of 12 townhomes and a two-story single-family duplex on East Center Street - is underway, after receiving approval from the Tarpon Springs Commission Jan. 26.
The townhome portion of the EcoVillage will extend over the 0.82 acres between East Center and East Orange streets, west of North Ring Avenue - in the city's historic district. During their Jan. 26 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved the site plan and a conditional use for the project.
The developer for the project, Joseph Kokulakis, plans to build two townhome buildings that will house six, two-story homes each at 207 E. Center St. Each townhome will have its own 12-by-20-foot garage and driveway, built behind the homes and accessed by a one-way drive off Orange Street. The homes will face Ring Avenue, and each will have a front porch “to provide a comfortable, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere” that “furthers the city's walkable community efforts,” city documents state.
TARPON SPRINGS - The second annual Mayor’s Fitness Challenge - 10 weeks of activities, classes and healthy eating - began with an open house at Tarpon Springs Community Center Jan. 11.
More than 100 residents had signed up for the challenge before the kick-off event had even started, said Economic Development Manager Karen Lemmons. The classes the city is offering as part of the challenge catered to all levels of fitness, she said.
“We get old people, young people, fit people, people just starting out,” she said. “We have a whole range of abilities.”
TARPON SPRINGS - Four candidates for Tarpon Springs Commission faced off in a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of North Pinellas County Jan. 19.
In the upcoming city elections Tuesday, March 15, two former Tarpon Springs city leaders will vie for the position as mayor: businessman Chris Alahouzos, who has served two previous terms on the commission, and chiropractor and former Mayor Frank DiDonato.
Seat 3 is contested between former Commissioner Susan Slattery and three-time candidate Timothy Keffalas.
TARPON SPRINGS - A new community pool at Tarpon Springs High School is on its way, after the Tarpon Springs Commission approved an agreement to construct and maintain the pool in partnership with the Pinellas County School Board.
The agreement is the result of about 10 months of negotiations with the school board, said City Manager Mark LeCouris. The high school would put up the initial construction costs, not to exceed $1.5 million, and oversee the construction of the pool. The city then would reimburse the school for the expense, over three years starting in September 2017.
TARPON SPRINGS - The Tarpon Springs Merchants Association asked to close Tarpon Avenue for an event one too many times this season, prompting commissioners Jan. 12 to vote against a soap box derby the association had planned.
The association planned the Soap Box Derby Day and Car Show on Friday, Feb. 13 as a way to bring something unique and new to Tarpon Springs, said Dan Jenkin, vice president of the merchants association.
“Not many other communities have a soap box derby,” Jenkin said. “We’re doing something different. It’s not the typical arts and craft show.”
TARPON SPRINGS - Robin Saenger knows her mission isn’t small. Her goal is to bring greater peace by recognizing trauma and transforming how past experiences of individuals can affect families, generations and the entire community.
“The only thing we’re trying to do is change the world,” Saenger said. “It has to happen. You see these random acts - supposedly random acts - of violence. They’re not random at all. There’s a reason, there’s a story behind every single one of them.”
TARPON SPRINGS - Ryan Howard and Vinny Testeverde were among the local celebrities participating in the inaugural Wheelchairs 4 Kids Kimberly Knorr Celebrity Memorial Golf Tournament fundraiser at Cypress Run in Tarpon Springs Jan. 7.
The fundraiser included prominent athletes who joined foursomes to play 18 holes in the tournament.
Vinny Testaverde, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, said he was glad to help out.
“Although I’ll be having a good time, it’s for a great cause. I hope I can be back for the next one,” he said.